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Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev

Eight months after his arrest, retired pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev arrived in court on January 22nd for the first hearing in his criminal trial. He faces charges of harming health, inciting hatred, propagating extremism and leading an organization that harms others. The charges carry a maximum penalty of about six to ten years' imprisonment each. He denies all wrongdoing. (For more details on his arrest, click here.)

The 67-year-old pastor has gone deaf in one ear and has suffered heart problems during the long months he has spent in prison and a psychiatric hospital. His trial will resume after January 31st.

Elsewhere in the country, two Christians were imprisoned for 48 hours, beginning on January 9th, for refusing to pay fines that were given as punishment for exercising their freedom of religion "without state permission." Numerous fines continue to be levied for this "offence."

Pray the Lord's favour will be upon Pastor Bakhytzhan and his legal team, and that the truth of his case will be brought to light. May he soon be acquitted of all charges and released. Pray, too, that God will completely heal and restore him. As others face fines or even imprisonment for exercising their religious freedom, ask God to use them and their suffering to strengthen fellow believers and encourage the growth of His church in Kazakhstan.

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Country Information

19,091,949 (July 2020 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Kazakh (Qazaq) (68), Russian (19.3), Uzbek (3.2), Ukrainian (1.5), Uighur (1.5), Tatar (1.1), German (1), Other (4.4)

Religion (%)
Muslim (70.2), Christian (26.2), Buddhist (0.1), Other (0.2), Atheist (2.8), Unspecified (0.5)

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system the theory and practice of the Russian Federation
Civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and b

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Kazakhstan

Pray that authorities will cease their harassment of unregistered church communities. Until then, pray believers will effectively minister the gospel despite opposition.

Pray for endurance for those believers facing these challenges.

Pray for the adage “To be a Kazakh is to be a Muslim” to be broken; pray for freedom from historic spiritual bondages and prejudices.


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Kazakhstan News

  • Appeal Fails to Halt Seizures
    New Life Curch - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
    New Life Church property in Almaty
    Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

    On September 17th, a court in the city of Almaty upheld an earlier decision to seize two buildings owned by the New Life Protestant Church. The facilities were being used for worship, as well as a means of support for those suffering from

  • Church Buildings Confiscated
    Grace Church member praying - Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18 www.forum18.org
    Church member prays outside Grace Church.
    Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18

    City officials in Kazakhstan's capital of Nur-Sultan have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building, as well as the place of worship being constructed on the same site for the Agape Pentecostal Church

  • Three Pastors Sentenced
    New Life Church property in Almaty - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
    New Life Church property in Almaty
    Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

    Three self-exiled pastors have been sentenced to terms up to five years for leading the New Life Pentecostal Church in the city of Almaty. The sentences were announced on November 1st, when the court rejected their latest appeal. The foun

  • Registration Delays
    Oskemen, Kazakhstan - Photo: Wikipedia / Maonya
    Oskemen, Kazakhstan
    Photo: Wikipedia / Maonya (cc)

    Despite its claimed allegiance to United Nations policies governing freedom of religion, the country of Kazakhstan places significant restrictions on any religious practice. Members of religious groups can only gather if registered, and they can o